Review: 2 Broke Girls 1×1

From the man who ruined Sex and the City – and Whitney Cummings

Two Broke Girls

In the US: Mondays, 8.30/7.30c, CBS
In the UK: Acquired by Channel 4

There’s a lot of Whitney Cummings around US TV at the moment. Best known from Chelsea Lately, not only does she have her own show on NBC – the eponymous Whitney – she’s the exec producer and co-creator of 2 Broke Girls, a supposed comedy about two waitresses who decide to run their own cupcake business – once they have enough money to quit their waitressing jobs, mind.

In case the mildly tepid Whitney hasn’t put you off the concept of a sitcom written by Whitney Cummings, here’s a little nugget of extra information that might sway you: it’s co-created and co-written by Michael Patrick King aka “The Man Who Ruined Sex and the City“.

So not funny in the slightest, but it does have two redeeming features: a relatively likeable pair of central characters; and Kat Dennings (Thor). But that’s it.

Here – try to laugh your way through this trailer.

Plot
2 BROKE GIRLS is a comedy about two young women waitressing at a greasy spoon diner who strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a successful business – if only they can raise the cash. Sassy, streetwise Max Black works two jobs just to get by, one of which is waiting tables during the night shift at the retro-hip Williamsburg Diner. Sophisticated Caroline Channing is an uptown trust fund princess who’s having a run of bad luck that forces her to reluctantly give waitressing a shot. At first, Max sees Caroline as yet another in a long line of inept servers she must cover for, but she’s surprised to find that Caroline has as much substance as she does style. When Caroline discovers Max’s knack for baking amazing cupcakes, she sees a lucrative future for them, but first they need to raise the start-up money. While they save their tips, they’ll stay at the restaurant, working with Oleg, an overly flirtatious Russian cook; Earl, a 75-year-old kool-kat cashier; and Han Lee, the new, eager-to-please owner of the diner. Working together, these two broke girls living in one expensive city might just find the perfect recipe for their big break.

Is it any good?
Well, I’ve covered most of the bases already, but there was a slightly funny joke about the Asian guy who runs the diner the two girls work in trying to pick a new ‘American name’ and settling on ‘Bryce Lee’.

Like Whitney, there’s a slight air of originality to proceedings, with some observations on waitressing never seen before. Dealing with the working class isn’t especially American, except if they happen to be rugged, manly men (Rescue Me, Blue Bloods), so good to see women getting a look in again this decade. The rich girl showing off the basics of business and the two new friends trying to be entrepreneurs together does make a nice change from the usual shopping and relationship-oriented, female-targeted comedies and dramas. And the two girls are at least nice, friendly characters. Plus Kat Dennings is always worth watching.

But my is it a painful show to watch, from its canned laughter and painfully over-lit multi-camera scenes through its racial stereotypes, appalling supporting characters, dreadful attempts at jokes and, erm, horse ownership.

And then there’s the show final revelation that its creators have entirely lost the plot: the set-up for the show is that the girls are going to work two jobs each for a year to earn $250,000 to start their cupcake-making business. That’s two job each that earn $60,000. While they live in Brooklyn. With no business loan.

Oh dear.

My advice is to skip it. Given it’s on CBS and right after Two and a Half Men, it’s pretty much guaranteed an audience (19.15 million viewers, in fact, for the first episode) so will probably be on our screens for a long time to come. But then so is Mike and Molly and you’re not missing much there.